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Misunderstandings of a Foreigner in American Culture

Powerful Essays
I still remember the shock I got when I first moved here. What a terribly superficial culture this country has, I thought. The way people treat each other, especially in conversations! At the beginning they ask you: "How are you?" But beware! They don't really want to know how you are, and if you make the mistake of actually giving them a detailed account of your well-being, they'll shun you for weeks. On the other hand, you're required to immediately embrace all new acquaintances with the standard "Nice to meet you." Maybe you weren't even in the mood to meet somebody at this particular moment, and if she or he turns out to be just another perfectly intolerable human being, then you lied to the entire world around you! I had some serious objections to this whole game. Unfortunately, even I am human and realized that it was either going to be adaptation or getting the heck out of this country, and my finances narrowed it down to the first choice.

In addition to my little blunders with American small talk, I also had quite a few instances of misunderstandings, and it certainly was not because my English wasn't fluent! I could tell you about the time I had an enticing little talk with a seriously cute guy who threw me a "I'll call you later" at the end of the conversation. Dummy me, sat by the phone the rest of the evening waiting for him to call. Is this an instance of gendered communication, or is it just a sign of the "American" times? How often do we use these vague phrases to be non-committal with almost anybody? These sentences have lost any actual meaning; they're an easy, "polite" way out of any situation. We refuse to give a concrete answer and therefore we can't be tied down to any kind of commitment. It's a good way to...

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...erstood! -- by the opposite sex I would like men to be on the lookout for these revolutionary and radical women because, after all, we women have the power to send you all back to your beloved "caves"!

Works Cited

Gray, John. "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus." Writing the World: Reading and Writing about Issues of the Day. Ed. Charles R. Cooper and Susan Peck MacDonald. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000. 16-25.

Tannen, Deborah. "'Put Down That Paper and Talk to Me: Rapport-Talk and Report-Talk." Writing the World: Reading and Writing about Issues of the Day. Ed. Charles R. Cooper and Susan Peck MacDonald. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000. 8-16.

Troernel-Ploetz, Senta. "Selling the Apolitical". Writing the World: Reading and Writing about Issues of the Day. Ed. Charles R. Cooper and Susan Peck MacDonald. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000. 67-73.
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